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Girls soccer: Semi-finality

February 27, 2002

Barry Faulkner

CORONA DEL MAR - The recent wave of CIF Southern Section girls

soccer playoff dominance displayed by the Mission League solidified, once

again, into an insurmountable hump Tuesday for Division IV semifinal host

Corona del Mar High.

Despite predictions by CdM Coach Ron Evans that his team would avenge

back-to-back semifinal losses to Mission League representatives,

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top-seeded Harvard-Westlake, which claimed a share of the circuit's fifth

straight section crown last year, prolonged the final four frustration

with a 3-1 victory.

"Heck yes it's frustrating," said Evans, who, despite the loss was

pleased with his players' effort and intensity. "But it would be more

frustrating if we hadn't got to the semifinals the last three years. This

program hadn't been to the playoffs for (eight) years (before the 2000

postseason), but now we're back in a groove. This was our third year in a

row in the semifinals. I think Harvard-Westlake lost four straight years

in the semifinals, before it won (the Division IV co-championship with

league rival Louisville) last year. We'll be back next year to try to get

over the hump."

It was the No. 4-seeded three-time Pacific Coast League champions

(15-5-7), who raised the curve early Tuesday.

With quick passes, strong spacing and a determined manner, the hosts

held possession in their half of the field most of the first 30 minutes.

"I definitely thought we had the better of it early," Evans said. "We

had some great opportunities and we were well balanced."

Harvard-Westlake's defense, however, keyed by sophomore sweeper Julia

Shapira, kept things scoreless, until the Wolverines cashed in its only

quality scoring chance before halftime.

Junior Gina Farias-Eisner chased down a through ball on the right side

of the 18-yard box and delivered a diagonal shot inside the far post to

put the Mission League champions (23-1-1) in front for good in the 34th

minute.

Farias-Eisner was one of three players, including junior forward Tracy

Lansing and senior midfielder and Parade Magazine national player of the

year Jill Oakes, whom Evans emphasized stopping in his game plan.

Evans instructed his team at halftime to gamble more offensively in

the second half, but it was Harvard-Westlake which seized offensive

control after the break.

The Wolverines broke through again in the 63rd minute, when Lansing

took a feed from Farias-Eisner just inside the box and drove a low roller

into the near corner for a 2-0 lead.

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